The Last Kingdom Premieres October 10 On BBC AMERICA

England is born in a new drama from the Emmy® Award and Golden Globe®-winning producers of

Downton Abbey

New York – August 17, 2015 BBC AMERICA’s new original series, The Last Kingdom, is a contemporary story of redemption, vengeance and self-discovery set against the birth of England. The eight part drama series follows young warrior and outsider, Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon), on a fierce mission to reclaim his birthright. The Last Kingdom, from Emmy®-winning executive producers of Downton Abbey, Gareth Neame and Nigel Marchant, is a Carnival Films co-production with BBC AMERICA for BBC Two and BBC AMERICA. The Last Kingdom premieres Saturday, October 10, 10:00pm ET on BBC AMERICA.

Eleven-year-old Uhtred was born a Saxon in 9th century Northumbria. He watches from a cliff top as invading Danish ships move toward his home, not knowing that his future will soon be turned upside-down. Young Uhtred witnesses his father killed and the Saxon army defeated. That same day he is taken by the Danish warlord, Earl Ragnar. His fellow captive is a feisty, sharp-tongued girl named Brida. The orphans are brought up in the Danish camp.

Fast forward and the two have formed a close personal bond as kindred spirits and lovers. Uhtred is now a valiant young man and warrior. But it isn’t long before he’s forced to endure yet another painful and disorienting twist of fate when a group of Danes deliberately set his home ablaze in a vengeful, personal attack – murdering his surrogate family (including Ragnar, who Uhtred saw as his true father). A bloody feud between rival Danes ensues. Caught in the middle, Uhtred finds himself exiled – neither Saxon nor Dane – alone in the world with only his fellow outcast, Brida (Emily Cox). Meanwhile, his inheritance and lands in Northumbria are taken by his scheming uncle, Aelfric. Enraged, Uhtred swears to avenge Ragnar and to reclaim his homeland. But his loyalties are ever tested as circumstances force him to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing. Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, recapture his ancestral lands.

Alexander Dreymon (American Horror Story) heads up the international cast from eleven different countries. Emily Cox (The Silent Mountain) stars as Brida, David Dawson (Peaky Blinders) as King Alfred, Rune Temte (Eddie the Eagle) as Ubba, Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street) as Lord Uhtred, Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner) as Ravn, Ian Hart (Boardwalk Empire) as Beocca, Tobias Santelmann (Point Break) as Ragnar the Younger, Peter Gantzler (Italian For Beginners) as Earl Ragnar, Adrian Bower (Mount Pleasant) as Leofric, Joseph Millson (Penny Dreadful) as Aelfric and Henning Valin Jakobsen (The Bridge) as Storri.

Adapted from Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling series of books “The Saxon Stories,” by BAFTA nominated and RTS award-winning writer Stephen Butchard, The Last Kingdom combines real historical figures and events with fiction, re-telling the history of King Alfred the Great and his desire to unite the many separate kingdoms into what would become England.

Gareth Neame, Nigel Marchant and Stephen Butchard are executive producers, with David O’Donoghue co-executive producing, and Nick Murphy co-executive producing and directing multiple episodes. Chrissy Skinns is producer. The Last Kingdom is a Carnival Films co-production with BBC AMERICA for BBC Two and BBC AMERICA. Carnival Films is part of NBCUniversal International Studios. The Last Kingdom will be distributed internationally by NBCUniversal International Distribution. The series was filmed in Hungary and the UK.

Note to editors:

Twitter: @LastKingdomBBCA @BBCAMERICA Hashtag: #TheLastKingdom

Website: bbcamerica.com/the-last-kingdom/

Press Room: www.press.bbcamerica.com

CAST & PRODUCTION CREDITS

Uhtred                                        Alexander Dreymon (American Horror Story)

Lord Uhtred                              Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street)

Alfred                                          David Dawson (Peaky Blinders)

Beocca                                        Ian Hart (Boardwalk Empire)

Brida                                           Emily Cox (The Silent Mountain)

Earl Ragnar                               Peter Gantzler (Italian for Beginners)

Ragnar the Younger                 Tobias Santelmann (Point Break)

Ubba                                            Rune Temte (Tatort)

Guthrum                                    Thomas W. Gabrielsson (The Killing)

Odda the Elder                         Simon Kunz (Sherlock)

Odda the Younger                    Brian Vernel (The Casual Vacancy)

Aethelwold                                 Harry McEntire (Episodes)

Leofric                                         Adrian Bower (Mount Pleasant)

Ravn                                            Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)

Aelswith                                      Eliza Butterworth (DCI Banks)

Aelfric                                         Joseph Millson (Penny Dreadful)

Kjartan                                        Alexandre Willaume (Rita)

Sven                                             Ole Christoffer Ertvaag (The Heavy Water War)

Thyra                                           Julia Bache-Wiig (Aquitted)

Storri                                           Henning Valin (The Bridge)

King Edmund                           Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrells)

King Aethelred                         Alec Newman (The Bastard Executioner)

Writer                                         Stephen Butchard

Producer                                     Chrissy Skinns

Director (Episodes 1 & 2)         Nick Murphy

Director (Episodes 3 & 4)         Anthony Byrne

Director (Episodes 5 & 6)         Ben Chanan

Director (Episodes 7 & 8)         Peter Hoar

Executive Producer                  Gareth Neame

Executive Producer                  Nigel Marchant

Executive Producer                  Stephen Butchard

Co-Executive Producer            Nick Murphy

Co-Executive Producer             David O’Donoghue

 

CHARACTER GUIDE

UHTRED (ALEXANDER DREYMON)

Born of Saxon nobility but raised a Dane, Uhtred grows up with a conflicted identity. A natural warrior, Uhtred is a leader of men, fearless, instinctive, and driven by a deep-seated need to reclaim his homeland of Bebbanburg, Northumbria. Quick-witted, impetuous with a taste for danger, he follows his gut and abhors the prayer, fasting, and obedience so precious to King Alfred. Like a Dane he believes life should be lived passionately and fully. He has charm, energy, charisma and an underlying sense of justice – qualities which make him very attractive to women. But his impulsiveness and irreverence sometimes land him in trouble.

BRIDA (EMILY COX)

Alongside Uhtred, Brida is captured as a child and raised by Danes. Brida and Uhtred’s similar fates bind them as kindred spirits; the two become best friends and lovers. Fearless, gutsy, outspoken, and a born fighter, Brida immediately feels at home in the boisterous world of the Danes.

UBBA (RUNE TEMTE)

The most senior ranking Dane, Ubba is a mountain of a man – loud, brash, violent, playful and a little unhinged. A ferocious warrior, Uhtred is warned as a boy never to fight Ubba, but fate dictates he must. Ubba’s weakness is his superstition and reliance on his sorcerer Storri…it may just prove his undoing.

LORD UHTRED (MATTHEW MACFADYEN)

Uhtred’s father, Lord Uhtred – a formidable fighter and leader of men, is ruler of the kingdom of Bebbanburg in Northumbria. He is a serious and rather distant man whose commitments to Bebbanburg leave little time for his two sons. Young Uhtred struggles to win his father’s affection and approval.

RAVN (RUTGER HAUER)

Earl Ragnar’s elderly father, Ravn, is a ‘skald’ (a Viking poet and wise man). Given his considerable life experience, he is philosophical about the struggles of the Danes and is able to impart his wisdom to young Uhtred, who often acts as the eyes of blind Ravn.

AELFRIC (JOSEPH MILLSON)

Aelfric is Uhtred’s uncle and usurper of the throne of Bebbanburg. Aelfric is unscrupulous, scheming and power hungry. He sees Uhtred as a barrier to his claim on Bebbanburg and is committed to his demise.

ALFRED (DAVID DAWSON)

As the King who dreamt of uniting the separate kingdoms of England, Alfred has integrity and true gravitas. Where Uhtred is gallant and daring, Alfred is a thinker and master strategist, yet troubled by poor health. A man of great wisdom, he is committed to the power of the written word and the spread of Christianity. Learned, pious and cautious – the responsibilities of leadership rest heavily on Alfred’s shoulders, but his faith and inner strength are forever tested by his habitual infidelities. Despite these vulnerabilities he remains determined. Even Uhtred, who first sees Alfred as a humorless nit-picker, grows to admire the man who will become known as King Alfred the Great.

BEOCCA (IAN HART)

Uhtred’s Saxon father’s priest, Beocca, goes on to become Alfred’s most trusted advisor. As such, he alone has seen Uhtred grow from boy to man and knows his true birth-right. Devout, but with a wry sense of humor, Beocca is clever and tactical, with an opinion Alfred values greatly. Ever hopeful of turning stubborn Uhtred from his pagan ways, Beocca maintains a strong paternal affection for his wayward former charge.

EARL RAGNAR (PETER GANTZLER)

A formidable and infamous Danish warlord, Earl Ragnar is fearless, charming, and a natural leader – but also a warm-hearted family man. Devoted to his son, Ragnar the Younger, he doesn’t hesitate to also take Uhtred under his wing, seeing spark and courage in the Saxon boy. Uhtred sees Ragnar as his true father.

RAGNAR THE YOUNGER (TOBIAS SANTELMANN)

Uhtred’s Danish brother Ragnar the Younger is every inch his father’s son – handsome, brave, loyal and fair. Ragnar embodies the Viking way of life for Uhtred – freedom, passion, challenge and adventure…a world away from the strictures of Alfred’s court.

EPISODE SYNOPSES

EPISODE ONE (SERIES PREMIERE)

When Uhtred loses his father in battle, his lands and inheritance are taken by his scheming uncle, Aelfric, who becomes a puppet-lord for the ruling Danes. Uhtred is captured by his father’s killers and brought up by Danish warlord Ragnar whom he grows to love as a father. Now a young Danish warrior, when his surrogate family is murdered by a group of vengeful Danes, Uhtred finds himself alone; neither Saxon nor Dane. Episode one premieres Saturday, October 10, 10:00pm ET on BBC AMERICA.

EPISODE TWO

No longer Saxon or Dane, Uhtred and best friend Brida are fugitives on the run from Uhtred’s uncle, Aelfric. Finding himself blamed for a wedding massacre, Uhtred pleads his innocence to the great Viking warlord Ubba, but is not believed. His only choice is to return to his Saxon roots and approach the soon-to-be king, Alfred. Episode two premieres Saturday, October 17, 10:00pm ET on BBC AMERICA.

EPISODE THREE

Uhtred wins the protection of Alfred. He believes his commitment to the newly crowned King will help ensure he continues on the path to reclaim his birthright, but this newfound allegiance might also cost him his relationship with Brida. Meanwhile, Brida harbors a secret of her own. Episode three premieres Saturday, October 24, 10:00pm ET on BBC AMERICA.

EPISODE FOUR

A cunning tactical play by King Alfred keeps Uhtred close at heel, but it’s not long before Uhtred realizes he’s been tricked and his relationship with the King hits a new low. King Alfred then invites Uhtred to peace talks only to use him as a pawn, handing Uhtred over as a hostage to the Danes. However, the turn of events reunites Uhtred with his Danish brother Ragnar the Younger. When the tides turn once again and threaten Uhtred’s life, Ragnar proves to be a true ally and quite possibly, Uhtred’s saving grace. Meanwhile, a great battle looms over Wessex. Episode four premieres Saturday, October 31, 10:00pm ET on BBC AMERICA.

 

BBC AMERICA delivers U.S. audiences high-quality, innovative and intelligent programming. Established in 1998, it has been the launch pad for talent embraced by American mainstream pop culture, including Ricky Gervais, Gordon Ramsay, Graham Norton, and successful programming formats including ground-breaking non-scripted television like Top Gear and top-rated science-fiction like Doctor Who. A joint venture between BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, and AMC Networks, BBC AMERICA has attracted both critical acclaim and major awards including four Emmy® Awards, five Golden Globes® and 12 Peabody Awards. The channel attracts one of cable’s most affluent and educated audiences and is available on cable and satellite TV in nearly 80 million homes. It broadcasts in both standard and high-definition, with content available On Demand across all major digital platforms. Online, www.BBCAmerica.com is the place to go to dig deeper into pop culture with a British twist. Find out more by visiting www.Press.BBCAmerica.com/ or follow us on www.twitter.com/BBCAMERICA.

 

Carnival Films, a division of NBCUniversal International Studios and the UK’s largest drama specialist, is responsible for the global sensation Downton Abbey, winner of three Golden Globes and eleven Primetime Emmy awards.  It is the most nominated non-U.S. show in the history of the Emmys with a total of 59 nominations and is now viewed in 250 territories worldwide.  Downton Abbey is executive produced by Carnival’s Managing Director Gareth Neame, who sold the production company to NBCUniversal in 2008.  Carnival has produced many hundreds of hours of popular drama both in the UK and United States including primetime series such as Poirot, Hotel Babylon, Whitechapel, Dracula and The Philanthropist, as well as award-winning mini-series such as C4’s iconic Traffik, David Nicholl’s The 7:39, David Hare’s Worricker Trilogy as well as William Boyd’s BAFTA-winning Any Human Heart, and Peter Morgan’s BAFTA-winning The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies. Carnival Film’s latest series Stan Lee’s Lucky Man is in production for Sky 1, along with the sixth series of Downton Abbey. Production on The Hollow Crown 2: War of the Roses, a co-production with Neal Street starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Judi Dench for BBC2 and PBS has just completed. Carnival Films has recently announced major new projects such as Frank Spotnitz and Nicholas Meyers’ Freud, Bill Gallagher’s Jamestown, Neil Cross’s Bay of Plenty with Libertine Pictures, and Magnum with Magnum Photos.

 

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